This year’s Taite Music Prize has been awarded to Kody Nielson for his retro-futurist solo set Personal Computer.
Nielson, who is now working under the moniker Silicon, took out the award at an industry event in Auckland tonight. He takes home $10,000 and a chunk of recording time at Red Bull Studios.
The finalists this year included SJD, Nadia Reid, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Princess Chelsea, The Phoenix Foundation, Anthonie Tonnon and Marlon Williams.
READ MORE: RNZ Music’s Taite Music Prize collection
The Taite is now in its seventh year and previous winners include Jakob, SJD, Lorde, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Ladi6 and Lawrence Arabia. The award, which aims “to recognise outstanding creativity for an entire collection of music contained on one album”, was named after the late Dylan Taite, one of the country’s most renowned music journalists.
Silicon is the latest project from Nielson, who’s known for his previous time spent with troublegum punk act The Mint Chicks and psych-pop outfit Opossom. Last year, he also teamed up with his brother Ruban on Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s latest album Multi-Love, which went on to score them a Silver Scroll award back in September.
As Nielson told RNZ Music’s Sam Wicks last year, the album wrestles with the anxieties of communication in the digital age.
“[Computers] make me think of Big Brother or something. People trust these devices so much. It’s almost like they trust them more than people; there’s something sinister about it. It just seems like there’s this eye watching, and I’ve always been aware of it.”
PODCAST: Kody Nielson talks through his album with Sam Wicks.
Also presented at the ceremony was the Independent Music NZ Classic Record, which acknowledges “New Zealand’s rich history of making fine albums that continue to inspire us and define who we are.” This year it went to Upper Hutt Posse’s ground-breaking 12” E Tu.
As Taite judge Peter McLennan put it himself, the record is hugely important, both culturally and politically.
“It showed local rap fans and budding rappers that we could make this exciting new genre our own, with rhyming in Te Reo and English, and by name-checking local history. Upper Hutt Posse are our hip-hop pioneers, and they opened the gates for the likes of Dam Native, Three The Hard Way, and Che Fu.”